‘Let’s work on coun­try’s chal­lenges to­gether’

Today - - HOT NEWS - FARIS MOKHTAR farism@me­di­a­corp.com.sg

Amid crit­i­cism over the le­git­i­macy of her Pres­i­dency, Pres­i­dent-elect Hal­imah Ya­cob made a call for Sin­ga­pore­ans to work with her to ad­dress the coun­try’s chal­lenges and promised to serve ev­ery­one with vigour and com­mit­ment.

Crit­i­cism of the re­served elec­tion and walkover have mounted fol­low­ing Mon­day’s an­nounce­ment that Mdm Hal­imah, the 63-year-old for­mer Speaker of Par­lia­ment, was the sole el­i­gi­ble can­di­date.

Many Sin­ga­pore­ans took to us­ing #NotMyPres­i­dent in their so­cial me­dia posts, a hash­tag that first gained pop­u­lar­ity among those ral­ly­ing against Mr Don­ald Trump af­ter he won the United States’ pres­i­den­tial elec­tion last year.

Mdm Hal­imah’s sup­port­ers note that she is qual­i­fied for the role and point to her track record of over 40 years in pub­lic ser­vice.

Asked yes­ter­day about the back­lash, Mdm Hal­imah said: “Whether there’s an elec­tion or no elec­tion, my prom­ise is re­ally to serve ev­ery­one … I will serve with great vigour, with a lot of hard work, with the same pas­sion and com­mit­ment that I have served peo­ple with for the last four decades.”

She called on Sin­ga­pore­ans to tackle the coun­try’s chal­lenges, both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional, to­gether.

“Those should be our pri­or­i­ties and we need to work to­gether. This is not some­thing that only one per­son or sev­eral per­sons can do, but ev­ery­one has a role to play,” she said.

On Mon­day, the Elec­tions Depart­ment an­nounced that Sec­ond Chance Prop­er­ties chief ex­ec­u­tive Mo­hamed Salleh Mar­i­can, 67, and chair­man of Bour­bon Offshore Asia Pa­cific Farid Khan Kaim Khan, 62, were in­el­i­gi­ble to con­test.

Prior to that, Mdm Hal­imah’s crit­ics ques­tioned her rel­a­tive lack of fi­nan­cial acu­men and her in­de­pen­dence, given long-stand­ing and close ties to the rul­ing Peo­ple’s Ac­tion Party.

The “Malay­ness” of all three hope­fuls also came un­der scru­tiny.

Asked if she felt de­mor­alised by the crit­i­cism, Mdm Hal­imah said: “When you’re in pub­lic ser­vice, you fo­cus on your goals, your ob­jec­tives. And you fo­cus on the peo­ple you want to serve … I fo­cus on how to im­prove their lives, whether by in­tro­duc­ing pro­grammes or help­ing them, and that will con­tinue to be my em­pha­sis.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.